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The Swelled-up Ignoramus
H. H. Broach
Taken from a talk made at a banquet
What has just been said about the conduct of men was intensely interesting. And it is too bad that some of us cannot see ourselves as others see us, that we cannot see how revolting, how sickening, and disgusting some of us appear to any one with a grain of intelligence. I have in mind particularly the arrogant, disagreeable and self-loving man—the swelled-up fool who likes to boss, who likes to give orders and dominate; who tries to appear important and give sharp, curt answers, and who measures bigness by blusters.
It's unfortunate, indeed, when life is so short and the struggle so hard, that some men cannot at least be civil and half way decent to their fellows; they simply cannot stand authority. The minute you put them in positions of influence and authority, no matter how small, they at once proceed to show just how little they are, and how ill-fitted they are to do anything but work at a machine or follow a parade. They lose no time in proving that they should not be allowed to associate with anyone but the "hard-boiled," and the deaf and dumb.
Fools that they are, they fall desperately in love with themselves and become hopelessly drunk thinking about their own importance. Little do they seem to realize just how much they amount to in this life, that billions upon billions kept things going and got along quite well before they arrived, and that many more billions might manage to live, work and die long after they have departed.
They seem to think that when a man displays a little authority and tries to appear important, he is looked up to. But such cheap display and pretense only betray the crudest and rankest kind of ignorance. Nothing is more disgusting.
And when you stop to think of it, it's so easy to be courteous and agreeable and make life more worth living; it's so easy to win friends by being friendly, and it's the first lesson a man ought to learn, and if I had my way it would be the first lesson taught to our little ones in the schools—for there is nothing that
causes so much unhappiness, so much misunderstanding and illfeeling; there is nothing that so surely and quickly drives people from you, as disagreeableness. And there is nothing that wins more friends, that pays greater dividends and makes people happier, than agreeableness.
It is one of the rarest of all virtues, for everybody wants the courteous, agreeable man. The women want him, the children want him, the boss, and everybody. And the happiest man of all, the man who has the least competition, the man who gets most out of life, is the man who is pleasant and agreeable, who knows that others can get along quite well without him, and who doesn't go around like a swelled-up pup trying to impress others with his importance.
The Cowardly Bully
H. H. Broach
Taken from a talk made to a group
I have just learned of the unfortunate attack made on one of your leading members, and I want briefly to say that one of the most despicable cowards on earth is the bully who will attack a weaker or smaller man in an attempt to gain by brute strength what he cannot get by logic and common-sense reasoning, and who wants to "beat up" another man whenever he is shown to be wrong and loses an argument.
Among us there are all kinds and sorts of men, all working and struggling to get along. Each has his own troubles and selfish desires; none escapes them. Some love and respect each other, and some do not; some distrust and hate each other, and some do not; some are notorious liars, and some are not—but the worst and most contemptible kind of all, the kind that causes the most trouble and discomfort to all, the kind that is most despised, is the one who always wants to "lick” somebody, who isn't going to "let anyone get away with anything," and who "gets sore" and wants to "fight it out" the minute he does not have his own way. And he usually wants to "fight it out" with some one of a smaller size.
He is despised and doesn't know it; he is a cowardly bully but is too narrow or simple-minded to suspect it. Somebody is always "slipping something over on him”; somebody is always "doing him dirt"; and somebody is always on his toes—always he is getting the worst of it; always he is fretting about what somebody did or said. Everything is aimed at him, he imagines. He blames the world, his friends and his luck; he blames everything and everybody but himself. He is always arrogant; he is "cocky, touchy and tough” just as all ignoramuses are. He is always suspicious of his best friends and questioning the motives of everyone; he cannot be pleasant to others, and it seems even to pain him to say "Thank you" and smile. And so he is a low coward and a troublesome fool.
One of the very lowest traits of the human family is the desire of men “to beat up” one another—to overcome and harm our fellows by brute strength when intelligence and commonsense fails—and it's a shame and a disgrace that we creatures who are going around calling ourselves men—human, civilized, kindly and unselfish men, look down on the animals of the wilderness.
I sometimes think we ought to be ashamed to look them in the face when we carry on the way we do.
We have too much at stake, and this life is entirely too short to cause ourselves discomfort and misery by hating one another, by quarreling and pulling and tugging at one another, by taking advantage of one another, and by trying to "show up” and “beat up” one another. Not one of us in this room is "just right.” We are all more or less greedy, selfish and mean. We are all driven here and there with our joys and our pains, our pleasures and distress, and we all act like children at times.
But we want to be successful, we want to get the best we can, we want our work to be pleasant, we want our views to be accepted by others, and if we are going to show any sense at all, if we are going to get anywhere at all, then we have got to display more tolerance of one another, we have got to show more real friendliness, and we have got to act like grown-up, sensible human-beings.
I quite agree with what the others have said—that if this conference decides to follow the course outlined, it will mean a number of new enemies and bitter ones-for every one in this room.
Of course it will. And why? Simply because those you are trying to serve, humans that they are, demand that you do something which they would positively refuse to do were they placed in your positions and knew the facts as you know them; and many of them will believe only what they want to believenothing else. This you are powerless to prevent.
But what of it? Why be afraid to make a few enemies ? Most of you will admit that the proposed action is right, that it is just and timely. Then why worry about enemies, for enemies you will have. There is nothing more common or certain.
You know that in this race of life you are either too radical or too conservative; too slow or too aggressive; too emotional or too sentimental; too hard or too soft; too greedy, careless or changeable. And you simply cannot seem right to any unless you seem wrong to many.
And show me the man who is not making himself new enemies every day, and I will show you a worthless, insignificant creature who is simply cheating the undertaker out of his just dues. All faultless people are under the ground.
So our main concern here should be that what we do is just and proper, and that it be done just as well as we know how. And we should strive to lift ourselves up and above a lack of appreciation and a want of kindness on the part of others.
But you can disregard this view if you wish, you can hold back because you fear what others might think. That is the easiest course to follow. But if you are wise you will do as all wise men do, and that is, bow to the inevitable and go through with what you know to be right. This I urge you to do.